ABSTRACT The aim of the present study was to investigate the intracellular signaling events downstream of the classical estrogen receptors (ESRs) and G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) involved in regulation of proliferation and apoptosis of rat Sertoli cells, in which we have previously described ESR1, ESR2, and GPER. ESRs play a role in Sertoli cell proliferation, and GPER, but not ESRs, plays a role modulating gene expression involved with apoptosis. The present study shows that 17beta-estradiol (E2) and the GPER-selective agonist G-1 rapidly activate phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PIK3)/serine threonine protein kinase (AKT) and cyclic AMP response element-binding (CREB) phosphorylation. E2 and the ESR1-selective agonist 4,4′,4″-(4-propyl-(1H)-pyrazole-1,3,5-triyl)trisphenol (PPT) increase the expression of cyclin D1 (CCND1), whereas the ESR2-selective agonist 2,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-propionitrile (DPN) and G-1 do not change the expression of this protein, suggesting that ESR1 is the upstrea...
The aim of the present study was to investigate the intracellular signaling events downstream of the classical estrogen receptors (ESRs) and G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) involved in regulation of proliferation and apoptosis of rat Sertoli cells, in which we have previously described ESR1, ESR2, and GPER. ESRs play a role in Sertoli cell proliferation, and GPER, but not ESRs, plays a role modulating gene expression involved with apoptosis. The present study shows that 17beta-estradiol (E2) and the GPER-selective agonist G-1 rapidly activate phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PIK3)/serine threonine protein kinase (AKT) and cyclic AMP response element-binding (CREB) phosphorylation. E2 and the ESR1-selective agonist 4,4',4 ''-(4-propyl-(1H)-pyrazole-1,3,5-triyl)trisphenol (PPT) increase the expression of cyclin D1 (CCND1), whereas the ESR2-selective agonist 2,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-propionitrile (DPN) and G-1 do not change the expression of this protein, suggesting that ESR1 is the upstream receptor regulating Sertoli cell proliferation. E2- or PPT-ESR1, through activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/mitogen-activated protein kinase 3/1 (MAPK3/1) and PIK3 pathways, induces upregulation of CCND1. KG-501, the compound that disrupts the phospho-CREB/CREB binding protein (CBP) complex, does not change E2-or PPT-ESR1-mediated CCND1 expression, suggesting that phospho-CREB/cyclic AMP response element/CBP is not involved in the expression of this protein. E2- or G-1-GPER, through activation of EGFR/MAPK3/1 and PIK3 pathways, may be involved in the upregulation of antiapoptotic proteins BCL2 and BCL2L2. E2- or G-1-GPER/EGFR/MAPK3/1/phospho-CREB decreases BAX expression. Taken together, these results show a differential effect of E2-GPER on the CREB-mediated transcription of proapoptotic and antiapoptotic genes of the same BCL2 gene family. ESR1 and GPER can mediate the rapid E2 actions in the Sertoli cells, which in turn can modulate nuclear transcriptional events important for Sertoli cell function and maintenance of normal testis development and homeostasis. Our findings are important to clarify the role of estrogen in a critical period of testicular development, and to direct further studies, which may contribute to better understanding of the causes of male infertility.
Precise coordination of meiotic progression is a critical determinant of an egg's capacity to be fertilized successfully, and zinc has emerged as a key regulatory element in this process. An early manifestation of a regulatory role for this transition metal is the significant increase in total intracellular zinc. This accumulation is essential for meiotic progression beyond telophase I and the establishment of meiotic arrest at metaphase II. The subsequent developmental event, fertilization, induces a rapid expulsion of labile zinc that is a hallmark event in meiotic resumption. In the present study, we show that the zinc fluxes work, in part, by altering the activity of the cytostatic factor (CSF), the cellular activity required for the establishment and maintenance of metaphase II arrest in the mature, unfertilized egg. We propose a model in which zinc exerts concentration-dependent regulation of meiosis through the CSF component EMI2, a zinc-binding protein. Together, the data support the conclusion that zinc itself, through its interaction with EMI2, is a central component of the CSF.
Goat mammary gland epithelial cells have been used to establish primary and permanent cell lines, but to date, no data have been available regarding mammary stem cells (MaSCs) in this species. The detection and characterization of goat MaSCs is an important task for a better understanding of the cyclic character of mammary gland development, which will also offer the potential for manipulation of lactation yield and persistency. The objective of the present study was to demonstrate that a subpopulation of goat MaSCs resides in the goat mammary gland. Mammary tissue from lactating Saanen goats (Capra hircus) was dissociated and processed to a single-cell suspension. Using an in vitro colony-forming assay, we demonstrated that distinct colony types, which expressed specific lineage markers, arose from unipotent progenitors. Using two different growth media, we showed that the frequencies of caprine clonogenic progenitors differed according to growth conditions. Goat epithelial cells were transplanted under the kidney capsule of nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice, where they formed organized, bilayered structures. Our results indicate the presence of goat MaSCs in the caprine mammary gland. To our knowledge, these data represent the first description of the tissue hierarchy of the goat mammary gland and demonstrate the regenerative potential of adult goat MaSCs.
To understand the compromised survival of embryos derived from assisted reproductive techniques, transcriptome survey of early embryonic development has shown the impact of in vitro culture environment on gene expression in bovine or other living species. However, how the differentially expressed genes translate into developmentally compromised embryos is unresolved. We therefore aimed to characterize transcriptomic markers expressed by bovine blastocysts cultured in conditions that are known to impair embryo development. As increasing glucose concentrations has been shown to be stressful for early cleavage stages of mammalian embryos and to decrease subsequent blastocyst survival, in vitro-matured/fertilized bovine zygotes were cultured in control (0.2 mM) or high-glucose ( 5 mM) conditions until the 8- to 16-cell stage, and then transferred to control media until they reached the blastocyst stage. The concentration of 5 mM glucose was chosen as a stress treatment because there was a significant effect on blastocyst rate without the treatment's being lethal as with 10 mM. Microarray analysis revealed gene expression differences unrelated to embryo sex or hatching. Overrepresented processes among differentially expressed genes in treated blastocysts were extracellular matrix signalling, calcium signaling, and energy metabolism. On a pathophysiological level, higher glucose treatment impacts pathways associated with diabetes and tumorigenesis through genes controlling the Warburg effect, i.e., emphasis on use of anaerobic glycolysis rather than oxidative phosphorylation. These results allowed us to conclude that disruption of in vitro preattachment development is concomitant with gene expression modifications involved in metabolic control.
In hermaphroditic fish, the ovotestis can respond to external stimuli so that only one type of gonadal tissue (either ovarian or testicular tissue) will remain reproductively active and the other will recede to a rudimentary stage. However, the molecular mechanism for sexual fate determination is still poorly understood in hermaphroditic fish. In the present study, we examined whether sexual fate determination with respect to testis development is due to differential expression of dmrt1. Expression of dmrt1 was limited to the spermatogonia-surrounding cells (Sertoli cells) throughout testis development. Testicular dmrt1 was differentially expressed in fish (black porgy [Acanthopagrus schlegeli Bleeker]) depending on if fish were destined to be female or male. Expression of dmrt1 in Sertoli cells did not require germ cell factors with busulfan treatment. To examine the role of dmrt1, we used virus-based RNA interference. Deficiency of dmrt1 resulted in a reduced number of germ cells in the testis and stimulated a male-to-female sex change. Higher serum luteinizing hormone levels were detected in 2(+)- to 3-yr-old male fish as compared to sex-changing female fish. Furthermore, we showed that fish treated in vivo with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gnrh) and fish treated in vitro with gonadotropin (Gth) had higher dmrt1 expression in the testis, suggesting that these endocrine factors may affect the male-to-female sex change. Therefore, our data suggest that dmrt1 plays a key role in initial testis differentiation and in later maintenance of male development. We show, to our knowledge for the first time, the functions of dmrt1 in hermaphroditic fish, which indicate that male-phase maintenance may be regulated by the brain-pituitary-gonadal axis via the Gnrh-Gth-Dmrt1 axis.
Hypothalamic neurons, which produce the kisspeptin family of peptide hormones (Kp), are critical for initiating puberty and maintaining estrous cyclicity by stimulating gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) release. Conversely, RFamide-related peptide-3 (RFRP3) neurons inhibit GnRH activity. It has previously been shown that neonatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) can alter the timing of female pubertal onset and induce irregular estrous cycles or premature anestrus. Here we tested the hypothesis that disrupted ontogeny of RFamide signaling pathways may be a mechanism underlying advanced puberty. To test this, we used a transgenic strain of Wistar rats whose GnRH neurons express enhanced green fluorescent protein. Pups were exposed by daily subcutaneous injection to vehicle, 17beta-estradiol (E2), 50 mu g/kg BPA, or 50 mg/kg BPA, from Postnatal Day (PND) 0 through PND 3, and then cohorts were euthanized on PNDs 17, 21, 24, 28, and 33 (5-8 animals per age per exposure; males were collected on PNDs 21 and 33). Vaginal opening was advanced by E2 and 50 mu g/kg BPA. On PND 28, females exposed to E2 and 50 mu g/kg BPA had decreased RFRP-3 fiber density and contacts on GnRH neurons. RFRP3 perikarya were also decreased in females exposed to 50 mu g/kg BPA. Data suggest that BPA-induced premature puberty results from decreased inhibition of GnRH neurons.
Uterine gland development (adenogenesis) in mice begins on Postnatal Day (PND) 5 and is completed in adulthood. Adenogenesis depends on estrogen receptor 1, and progesterone (P4) inhibits mitogenic effects of estrogen on uterine epithelium. This progestin-induced effect has been used to inhibit uterine gland development; progestin treatment of ewes for 8 wk from birth has produced infertile adults lacking uterine glands. The goals of the present study were to determine if a window of susceptibility to P4-mediated inhibition of uterine gland development exists in mice and whether early P4 treatment abolishes adenogenesis and fertility. Mice were injected daily with P4 (40 mu g/g) or vehicle during various postnatal windows. Adenogenesis, cell proliferation, and expression of key morphoregulatory transcripts and proteins were examined in uteri at PNDs 10 and 20. Additionally, adenogenesis was assessed in isolated uterine epithelium. Treatment during PNDs 3-9, 5-9, or 3-7 abolished adenogenesis at PND 10, whereas treatments during PNDs 3-5 and 7-9 did not. Critically, mice treated during PNDs 3-9 lacked glands in adulthood, indicating that adenogenesis did not resume after this treatment. However, glands were present by PND 20 and later following treatment during PNDs 5-9 or 3-7, whereas treatment during PNDs 10-16 produced partial inhibition of adenogenesis at PND 20 and later. Epithelial proliferation at PND 10 was low following P4 treatment (PNDs 3-9) but exceeded that in controls at PND 20, indicating a rebound of epithelial proliferation following treatment. Messenger RNA for Wnt, Fzd, and Hox genes was altered by neonatal P4 treatment. All groups cycled during adulthood. Mice treated with P4 during PNDs 3-9, but not during other developmental windows, showed minimal fertility in adulthood. In summary, brief P4 treatment (7 days) during a critical neonatal window (PNDs 3-9) transiently inhibited epithelial proliferation but totally and permanently blocked adenogenesis and adult fertility. This resulted in permanent loss of uterine glands and, essentially, total infertility during adulthood. The narrow window for inhibition of adenogenesis identified here may have implications for development of this methodology as a contraceptive strategy for animals.
An in vitro system was used to analyze the effects of sex steroids on the development of primary (late perinucleolar stage) and early secondary, previtellogenic (early cortical alveolus stage) ovarian follicles of coho salmon cultured for up to 21 days. Late perinucleolar-stage follicles increased significantly in size after 7 days of treatment with low concentrations of 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT), a nonaromatizable androgen. An androgen receptor antagonist (flutamide) inhibited this growth-promoting effect, and the highest concentration resulted in atresia of follicles, implicating androgens as survival factors at this stage. Testosterone (T) was less effective than 11-KT in promoting growth, but blocking aromatization with exemestane resulted in a growth response similar to that of 11-KT. Estradiol-17beta (E2) had no effect on growth at this stage. After 21 days of culture, E2 was the most potent steroid in increasing the number of follicles containing cortical alveoli and the number of cortical alveoli within those follicles. At the early cortical alveolus stage, low doses of E2 promoted growth and strongly stimulated synthesis of cortical alveoli, actions that were inhibited by an estrogen receptor antagonist (tamoxifen). 11-KT displayed moderate growth-promoting effects, and 11-KT and T stimulated moderate to substantial increases in abundance of cortical alveoli. This study shows that the predominant role of androgens is the promotion of growth of late perinucleolar-stage follicles, while E2 stimulates both the growth and accumulation of cortical alveoli in early cortical alveolus-stage follicles.
Nesfatin-1 is an anorexigen in goldfish. In the present study, we provide novel data indicating the presence and regulatory effects of nesfatin-1 on the hypothalamo-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis of goldfish. Nucleobindin-2 (NUCB2)/nesfatin-1-like immunoreactive (ir) cells are present in the hypothalamus and in the pituitary, suggesting a hypophysiotropic role for nesfatin-1. NUCB2/nesfatin-1-like ir cells colocalize gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in the nucleus lateralis tuberis posterioris and the nucleus anterior tuberis of the goldfish hypothalamus. The presence of nesfatin-1 with GnRH in these two nuclei implicated in pituitary hormone release suggests a role for nesfatin-1 on gonadotropin secretion. A single i.p. injection of synthetic goldfish nesfatin-1 (50 ng/g body wt) resulted in an acute decrease (similar to 75%) in the expression of hypothalamic chicken GnRH-II and salmon GnRH mRNAs at 15 min postinjection in goldfish. Meanwhile, pituitary luteinizing hormone (LH) beta and follicle-stimulating hormone beta mRNAs were also inhibited (similar to 80%), but only at 60 min postinjection. Nesfatin-1 administration also resulted in a significant reduction (similar to 60%) in serum LH levels at 60 min post-administration. Nesfatin-1-like immunoreactivity was also found in the follicle cells, but not the oocytes, in zebrafish and goldfish ovaries. Incubation of zebrafish follicles with nesfatin-1 resulted in a significant reduction in basal germinal vesicle breakdown (similar to 50%) during the oocyte maturation. In addition, nesfatin-1 also attenuated the stimulatory effects of maturation-inducing hormone on germinal vesicle breakdown. Together, the current results indicate that nesfatin-1 is a metabolic hormone with an inhibitory tone on fish reproduction. Nesfatin-1 appears to elicit this suppressive effect through actions on all three tissues in the fish HPO axis.
In order to better understand how sperm movement is regulated in the oviduct, we mated wild-type female mice with Acr-EGFP males that produce sperm with fluorescent acrosomes. The fluorescence improved our ability to detect sperm within the oviduct. Oviducts were removed shortly before or after ovulation and placed in chambers on a warm microscope stage for video recording. Hyperactivated sperm in the isthmic reservoir detached frequently from the epithelium and then reattached. Unexpectedly, most sperm found in the ampulla remained bound to epithelium throughout the observation period of several minutes. In both regions, most sperm produced deep flagellar bends in the direction opposite the hook of the sperm head. This was unexpected, because mouse sperm incubated under capacitating conditions in vitro primarily hyperactivate by producing deep flagellar bends in the same direction as the hook of the head. In vitro, sperm that are treated with thimerosal to release Ca2+ from internal stores produce deep anti-hook bends; however, physical factors such as viscous oviduct fluid could also have influenced bending in oviductal sperm. Some sperm detached from epithelium in both the ampulla and isthmus during strong contractions of the oviduct. Blockage of oviduct contractions with nicardipine, however, did not stop sperm from forming a storage reservoir in the isthmus or prevent sperm from reaching the ampulla. These observations indicate that sperm continue to bind to oviductal epithelium after they leave the isthmic reservoir and that sperm motility is crucial in the transport of sperm to the fertilization site.
Uterine glands and their secretions are required for conceptus (embryo/fetus and associated placenta) survival and development. In most mammals, uterine gland morphogenesis or adenogenesis is a uniquely postnatal event; however, little is known about the mechanisms governing the developmental event. In sheep, progestin treatment of neonatal ewes permanently ablated differentiation of the endometrial glands. Similarly, progesterone (P4) inhibits adenogenesis in neonatal mouse uterus. Thus, P4 can be used as a tool to discover mechanisms regulating endometrial adenogenesis. Female pups were treated with sesame vehicle alone as a control or P4 from Postnatal Day 2 (PD 2) to PD 10, and reproductive tracts were examined on PD 5, 10, or 20. Endometrial glands were fully developed in control mice by PD 20 but not in P4-treated mice. All other uterine cell types appeared normal. Treatment with P4 stimulated proliferation of the stroma but suppressed proliferation of the luminal epithelium. Microarray analysis revealed that expression of genes were reduced (Car2, Fgf7, Fgfr2, Foxa2, Fzd10, Met, Mmp7, Msx1, Msx2, Wnt4, Wnt7a, Wnt16) and increased (Hgf, Ihh, Wnt11) by P4 in the neonatal uterus. These results support the idea that P4 inhibits endometrial adenogenesis in the developing neonatal uterus by altering expression of morphoregulatory genes and consequently disrupting normal patterns of cell proliferation and development.
In mammals, successful pregnancy is dependent in part on the adaptation or regulation of the maternal immune system to prevent the rejection of the embryonic semiallograft. A modification in Th cell function and secretion is a requirement for the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy. Although there is strong evidence from studies in humans and mice linking successful pregnancy with the predominance of Th2-type immunity, the situation in cattle remains unclear. This study describes the characterization of the immune response of the bovine maternal endometrium to the presence of a developing embryo, with specific emphasis on the macrophage and dendritic cell populations and associated factors, using quantitative real-time PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, in vivo and in vitro models were developed to investigate the potential role of progesterone and interferon-tau (IFNT) in the regulation of these immune factors. There was a marked increase in the population of CD14(+) cells and CD172a-CD11c(+) cells in the endometrium in response to pregnancy, which was paralleled by increased mRNA expression of a number of non-Th-associated factors, including IL12B and IL15, and downregulation of IL18. In addition, we identified several novel IFNT- and progesterone-regulated factors, including IL12B, MCP1, MCP2, PTX3, RSAD2, and TNFA, whose regulation may be critical to pregnancy outcome. Our findings give center stage to non-Th cells, such as monocytes/macrophages and dendritic cells, in the bovine immune response to the semiallogenic embryo. In conclusion, we propose that in cattle, successful pregnancy establishment is associated with a dramatic regulation of the cytokine network, primarily by endometrial monocytes/macrophages and dendritic cells.
Reproductive function is highly dynamic during postnatal developmental. Here, we performed molecular profiling of gene expression patterns in the hypothalamus of developing male and female rats to identify which genes are sexually dimorphic, to gain insight into a more complex network of hypothalamic genes, and to ascertain dynamic changes in their relationships with one another and with sex steroid hormones during development. Using a low-density PCR platform, we quantified mRNA levels in the preoptic area (POA) and medial basal hypothalamus (MBH), and assayed circulating estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone at six ages from birth through adulthood. Numerous genes underwent developmental change, particularly postnatal increases, decreases, or peaks/plateaus at puberty. Surprisingly, there were few sex differences; only Esr1, Kiss1, and Tac2 were dimorphic (higher in females). Cluster analysis of gene expression revealed sexually dimorphic correlations in the POA but not the MBH from P30 (Postnatal Day 30) to P60. Hormone measurements showed few sex differences in developmental profiles of estradiol; higher levels of progesterone in females only after P30; and a developmental pattern of testosterone with a nadir at P30 followed by a dramatic increase through P60 (males). Furthermore, bionetwork analysis revealed that hypothalamic gene expression profiles and their relationships to hormones undergo dynamic developmental changes that differ considerably from adults. These data underscore the importance of developmental stage in considering the effects of hormones on the regulation of neuroendocrine genes in the hypothalamus. Moreover, the finding that few neuroendocrine genes are sexually dimorphic highlights the need to consider postnatal development from a network approach that allows assessment of interactions and patterns of expression.
Bull fertility is an important target for genetic improvement, and early prediction using genetic markers is therefore a goal for livestock breeding. We performed genome-wide association studies to identify genes associated with fertility traits measured in young bulls. Data from 1118 Brahman bulls were collected for six traits: blood hormone levels of inhibin (IN) at 4 mo, luteinizing hormone (LH) following a gonadotropin-releasing hormone challenge at 4 mo, and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) at 6 mo, scrotal circumference (SC) at 12 mo, ability to produce sperm (Sperm) at 18 mo, and percentage of normal sperm (PNS) at 24 mo. All the bulls were genotyped with the BovineSNP50 chip. Sires and dams of the bull population (n = 304) were genotyped with the high-density chip (similar to 800 000 polymorphisms) to allow for imputation, thereby contributing detail on genome regions of interest. Polymorphism associations were discovered for all traits, except for Sperm. Chromosome 2 harbored polymorphisms associated with IN. For LH, associated polymorphisms were located in five different chromosomes. A region of chromosome 14 contained polymorphisms associated with IGF1 and SC. Regions of the X chromosome showed associations with SC and PNS. Associated polymorphisms yielded candidate genes in chromosomes 2, 14, and X. These findings will contribute to the development of genetic markers to help select cattle with improved fertility and will lead to better annotation of gene function in the context of reproductive biology.
Physiological perturbations of bovine follicle-enclosed oocytes during the lengthy period of follicular development can lead to reduced oocyte developmental competence. It is suggested that heat stress-induced alterations in germinal vesicle (GV)-stage oocytes are further expressed in the transcriptional levels of genes involved in oocyte maturation and early embryonic development. Bovine oocytes were collected during cold (December-April) and hot (May-November) seasons, matured, fertilized, and cultured in vitro. The percentage of fertilized oocytes cleaving to the 2- to 4-cell stage was higher in the cold vs. hot season (89.0% +/- 2.63% vs. 75% +/- 2.63%, respectively; P < 0.05), as was the percentage of cleaved embryos further developing to blastocysts (26.6% +/- 0.9% vs. 10.1% +/- 1.8%, respectively; P < 0.05). Total RNA and poly(A) mRNA of oocytes and developing embryos were isolated and subjected to semiquantitative and real-time PCR for MOS, GDF9, and POU5F1 genes. In GV-stage oocytes, their mRNA levels did not differ between the seasons. However, following maturation, mRNA levels were higher in oocytes collected in the cold season (P < 0.05). In 4-cell-stage embryos, GDF9 and POU5F1 showed opposite mRNA patterns between seasons (higher and lower levels, respectively) in the hot season (P < 0.05). In both 8-cell-stage embryos and blastocysts, POU5F1 expression was lower during the hot season (P < 0.05). Exposing the ovarian pool of oocytes to environmental stress appears to impair maternal mRNA storage and/or the mechanism of transcription renewal, in turn affecting embryo gene expression before and after embryonic genome activation. Such impairment might partially explain the carry-over effect of summer heat stress on dairy cow conception rates.
Relaxin family peptide receptor 2 (RXFP2) is the cognate receptor of a peptide hormone insulin-like 3 (INSL3). INSL3 is expressed at high levels in both fetal and adult Leydig cells. Deletion of Insl3 or Rxfp2 genes in mice caused cryptorchidism resulting from a failure of gubernaculum development. Using a novel mouse transgenic line with a knock-in LacZ reporter in the Rxfp2 locus, we detected a robust Rxfp2 expression in embryonic and early postnatal gubernaculum in males and in postmeiotic spermatogenic cells in adult testis. To study the role of INSL3/RXFP2 signaling in male reproduction, we produced a floxed Rxfp2 allele and used the Cre/loxP approach to delete Rxfp2 in different tissues. Using Cre transgene driven by retinoic acid receptor beta promoter, conditional gene targeting in gubernacular mesenchymal cells at early embryonic stages caused high intraabdominal cryptorchidism as in males with a global deletion of Rxfp2. However, when the Rxfp2 was deleted in gubernacular smooth or striated muscle cells, no abnormalities of testicular descent or testis development were found. Specific ablation of Rxfp2 in male germ cells using Stra8-icre transgene did not affect testis descent, spermatogenesis, or fertility in adult males. No significant change in germ cell apoptosis was detected in mutant males. In summary, our data indicate that the INSL3/RXFP2 signaling is important for testicular descent but dispensable for spermatogenesis and fertility in adult males.
Three Binder of SPerm proteins (BSP1, BSP3, BSP5) are secreted by bovine seminal vesicles into seminal plasma and adsorbed onto sperm. When sperm inseminated into the female reach the oviduct, the BSP proteins bind them to its epithelial lining, forming a sperm storage reservoir. Previously, we reported that binding of capacitated sperm to oviductal epithelium in vitro is lower than that of uncapacitated sperm and we proposed that reduced binding was due to loss of BSP proteins during capacitation. Because of differences in amino acid sequences, we predicted that each BSP would respond differently to capacitating conditions. To test whether all three BSP proteins were lost from sperm during capacitation and whether the kinetics of loss differed among the three BSP proteins, ejaculated bull sperm were incubated under various capacitating conditions, and then the amounts of BSP proteins remaining on the sperm were assayed by Western blotting. Capacitation was assayed by analysis of protein tyrosine phosphorylation. While loss of BSP1 was not detected, most of the BSP5 was lost from sperm during incubation in TALP medium, even without addition of the capacitation enhancers heparin and dbcAMP-IBMX. Surprisingly, a smaller molecular mass was detected by anti-BSP3 antibodies in extracts of incubated sperm. Its identity was confirmed as BSP3 by mass spectrometry, indicating that BSP3 undergoes modification on the sperm surface. These changes in the composition of BSP proteins on sperm could play a role in releasing sperm from the storage reservoir by modifying sperm interactions with the oviductal epithelium.
After mating, many female mammals store a subpopulation of sperm in the lower portion of the oviduct, forming a reservoir. The reservoir lengthens sperm lifespan, regulates sperm capacitation, controls polyspermy, and selects normal sperm. It is believed that sperm bind to glycans on the oviduct epithelium to form the reservoir, but the specific adhesion molecules that retain sperm are unclear. Herein, using a glycan array to test 377 glycans for their ability to bind porcine sperm, we found two glycan motifs in common among all glycans with sperm-binding ability: the Lewis X trisaccharide and biantennary structures containing a mannose core with 6-sialylated lactosamine at one or more termini. Binding to both motifs was specific; isomers of each motif did not bind sperm. Further work focused on sialylated lactosamine. Sialylated lactosamine was found abundantly on the apical side of epithelial cells collected from the oviduct isthmus, among N-linked and O-linked glycans. Sialylated lactosamine bound to the head of sperm, the region that interacts with the oviduct epithelium. After capacitation, sperm lost affinity for sialylated lactosamine. Receptor modification may contribute to release from the reservoir so that sperm can move to the site of fertilization. Sialylated lactosamine was required for sperm to bind oviduct cells. Simbucus nigra agglutinin or an antibody specific to sialylated lactosamine with a preference for Neu5Acalpha2-6Gal rather than Neu5Acalpha-2-3Gal reduced sperm binding to oviduct isthmic cells, as did occupying putative receptors on sperm with sialylated biantennary glycans. These results demonstrate that sperm binding to oviduct 6-sialylated biantennary glycans is necessary for normal adhesion to the oviduct.
Although substantial evidence exists that sperm ATP production via glycolysis is required for mammalian sperm function and male fertility, conflicting reports involving multiple species have appeared regarding the ability of individual glycolytic or mitochondrial substrates to support the physiological changes that occur during capacitation. Several mouse models with defects in the signaling pathways required for capacitation exhibit reductions in sperm ATP levels, suggesting regulatory interactions between sperm metabolism and signal transduction cascades. To better understand these interactions, we conducted quantitative studies of mouse sperm throughout a 2-h in vitro capacitation period and compared the effects of single substrates assayed under identical conditions. Multiple glycolytic and nonglycolytic substrates maintained sperm ATP levels and comparable percentages of motility, but only glucose and mannose supported hyperactivation. These monosaccharides and fructose supported the full pattern of tyrosine phosphorylation, whereas nonglycolytic substrates supported at least partial tyrosine phosphorylation. Inhibition of glycolysis impaired motility in the presence of glucose, fructose, or pyruvate but not in the presence of hydroxybutyrate. Addition of an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation reduced motility with pyruvate or hydroxybutyrate as substrates but unexpectedly stimulated hyperactivation with fructose. Investigating differences between glucose and fructose in more detail, we demonstrated that hyperactivation results from the active metabolism of glucose. Differences between glucose and fructose appeared to be downstream of changes in intracellular pH, which rose to comparable levels during incubation with either substrate. Sperm redox pathways were differentially affected, with higher levels of associated metabolites and reactive oxygen species generated during incubations with fructose than during incubations with glucose.